Vanessa Charlot’s Inspiring Journey into Professional Photography

On this week’s episode of Inside The Photographer’s Mind, documentary photographer Vanessa Charlot joins us on the show. Born and based in Miami, Vanessa Charlot has been commissioned by prominent publications such as The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Vogue. Her work primarily focuses on marginalized groups, as she helps to give a voice to those that society often silences. It’s a terrific hour of conversation, and below is an overview of what you can expect.

Listen to our interview with Vanessa Charlot right here. And check out Vanessa’s website right here.

Vanessa Charlot on Photographing Protests

We originally had to reschedule the interview as Charlot had to photograph the current protests in Miami, understandably. She kindly still found time in her busy schedule to sit and speak with us, which made us grateful. The protests are in support of Haitian migrants who are currently trying to seek asylum. Charlot explains the current struggles faced by the people in Haiti and what it’s like photographing protests.

She explains that the protests are mostly peaceful. We then discuss other demonstrations, especially in 2020, that were far from peaceful, more so in terms of the conduct of law enforcement. Are documentary and photojournalism under threat? We explore the topic in this hour-long episode with Vanessa Charlot.

Vanessa Charlot on Her Photographic Journey

Vanessa Charlot was 12 years old when she became interested in photography. As a youth, she would photograph people in her local community, aiming to portray a different side to the area and people she grew up around.

Although young, it was clear she was talented and had a bright future in photography. The biggest sign of this, aside from her photographs, was the belief shown in her by her teacher at the time. Recognizing her potential, her teacher gifted her a Leica. From that point, Charlot didn’t look back, and she continued her path to where she is now.

However, the publications and brands you see on her resume didn’t appear with ease. We cover the amount of time spent knocking on doors, most of which are shut in your face, before being allowed to walk through one. For any young or aspiring photographer, it’s a valuable insight into the journey of a professional photographer.

On Minorites

The topic of minority groups is polarizing, especially in America. In this episode of Inside The Photographer’s Mind, we cover the importance of highlighting the struggles faced by them. We also explore how it’s equally important to show the positive aspects of cultures and how photographers need to be balanced when documenting them. From a black perspective, in Charlot’s words, “Struggle is 10% of our existence.”

On Teaching

Once a student of the game, Charlot now lectures at the International Center of Photography. Taking from her background in literature, she combines the written word and photography to keep her students engaged, helping them reflect on the work they create. She teaches students of all ages and comments on an excellent 82-year-old photographer!

We go into all the topics above in greater detail in our long-form photography interview. It’s perfect for listening at home or when out and about. So hit the play button on the audio or video above to start listening.

Inside the Photographer’s Mind

Inside the Photographer’s Mind is The Phoblographer’s long-form podcast. We aim to dig deep into the photographer’s mind and understand who they are, what they do, and most importantly, why they do it.

We have plenty of awesome guests coming up. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss a show!

Dan Ginn

Dan Ginn is a content writer and journalist. He brings with him five years' experience writing in the photographic niche. During that time he has worked with a range of leading brands, as well as a host professional photographers within the industry.